Happiness is often a pursuit for people who are looking for more in life.
Happiness is not an end point but rather a state of mind, and transient in nature. We each have variation in our state of mind throughout each day. We can be happy, then melancholic, sad, angry, asleep, happy again, despondent, arrogant, selfless, compassionate, and so on. This can change rapidly or slowly depending on our circumstance and life experience at any point in time.
This means that “happy” is transient and not permanent.
But more importantly, what is happiness?
The best description or definition of happiness that I have found was that provided by Dan Millman in his book, “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”. In this book he provides a formula for happiness.
Where we have insufficient resources to satisfy our desires the formula will give a result less than 1 and we will not be happy (or content) because our desires cannot be fulfilled.
The formula also provides answers that will enable happiness (or contentment):
1. Reduce your desires to the level where you have the resources to fulfill them, OR
2. Get more resources
3. A bit of both of the above
The world is more and more being engulfed by consumerism. The supporting advertising images presented in main stream media, on billboards, in social media, by peers, family, culture and so on, create the desire to buy more so we can fit in with the images being presented. Our desires are being force fed onto us to support the consumer-capitalistic model to a level where most have not sufficient resources to meet their new “forced-on” desires. We therefore are not happy or content!
By looking within ourselves to understand our true self, our beliefs and values, we will be able to determine our real desires and shed the ”forced-on” desires or not take them on in the first place. This will allow you to move toward and even achieve happiness more often (remember happiness is transient) because you will more likely have the resources to meet your real desires.
If you discover that you need to increase your resources to meet your real desires, you will likely find that the extra required is not as much as you previously thought, once you have shed the “forced-on” desires. Be mindful that in seeking additional resources that you maintain that which is important to you. For example, getting a better paid job may also mean more hours at work or increased stress, or longer commutes, which may impact family and social connections, increase your tax burden and health costs, cost more in travel, and so on.
The answer to “being happy” is unique to each person. To begin to answer this for yourself, begin with evaluating your desires and shedding those that have been “forced-on” you.